What are a Lion’s Predators?

Question: What are Lions predators? 

As an alpha predator, the lion has no natural predators and sits comfortably at the top of the food chain. 

Lions get the pick of the litter, so to speak when it comes to food. They eat A LOT so will dine on almost anything, including wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes, and will also eat larger prey, especially if they’re sick or injured. 

The Apex Predator 

In the wild, the African lion is referred to as Africa’s apex land predator, meaning they have no predator and can indiscriminately prey on whomever they choose in their habitat. This can include, but not limited to, antelopes, buffaloes, zebras, elephant calves, hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, warthogs, and many more. 

Male lions are incredibly territorial and will defend their pride and territory against intruders, i.e., hyenas, and will fight till death if necessary. Interestingly, lions will also take any opportunity to steal prey off other animals like cheetahs and leopards. 

While the adult male lion has no natural enemies, the same can’t be said for their cubs. Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of food in some habitats, animals like the hyena, African wild dog, and the cheetah will attempt to kill a cub if and when there is an opportunity. 

Human-Lion Conflict 

Humans are the largest threat to the lion with hunters regularly poaching them for ‘trophies’ and rapidly decreasing the already scarce wild lion population. People are also known to kill lions who encroach on their farming land to protect their livestock and in some cases, lions are killed for tribal purposes, however, it appears this ritual has since ceased

Human-lion conflict is problematic and discourse on managing the situation is becoming increasingly rampant. According to a recent study, human-lion conflict is one of the leading threats to the lion, especially by local farmers retaliating. However, the study concluded that ‘while livestock loss is a source of conflict’, the degree to which it is the fault of lions is relatively low compared to disease and theft which were considered top factors of livestock loss.

As much as 43 percent of the lion population in Africa has declined over the past 21 years due to deforestation and human intervention, in particular. Attacks are increasing and pose a serious threat to the survival of the lion as they are easier to hunt than other animals – such as the elephant or hippopotamus – because of their scavenging nature, all the poacher has to do is set a trap with poisoned meat. 

One of the best ways we can all help with lion conservation is through education and providing support for wildlife organizations that work to protect lions. Check out Big Cats Wild Cats for a list of lion conservation organizations and groups working to preserve and protect the ‘King of the Jungle’. 

Lion Fact

Despite their depiction in The Lion King, the hyena is actually quite an intelligent animal and has been known to kill lions in the wild. They use their large population to their advantage and encircle the lion, outnumbering him, and take turns in attacking. Sharing is caring, right?

Frequently Asked Questions

People who ask, ‘What are Lions predators?’ also ask;

Does the lion have any predators?

No, the lion has no natural predators per se, except for in some cases Hyenas and cheetahs, and, of course, humans. 

What animals kill lions?

Big-hoofed animals such as the giraffe, elephant, crocodile, and hippopotamus can kill a lion by simply kicking them. The hippo, for example, is incredibly strong and fast (faster than a lion) and can crush a lion with its sharp teeth. In addition, the giraffe has long, powerful legs that can break bones in its victim, as well as damage internal organs. They’re not as defenceless as they look!

What are lions afraid of?

Lions are afraid of any mammal larger than they are, including giraffes, hippos, and elephants. Some reports suggest, lions also live in a ‘landscape of fear’ and are constantly stressed and ‘on edge’ as they increasingly try to avoid human contact. 

What is the lion’s worst enemy?

Humans. Unfortunately, humans are driving lions to extinction in the form of ‘trophy hunting’ or ‘captive hunting’. It’s crucial we seek out ways to protect these beautiful creatures and the first step is through education. 

Can a gorilla kill a lion?

Perhaps. Like Kong and Godzilla, this match doesn’t have an obvious winner. Both the gorilla and the lion have similar strengths and could go either way. Whether or not this was to ever happen in the wild, we would place our bets on the lion (only just) due to their predatory nature. 

Can a lioness kill a male lion?

Yes. The lioness certainly possesses the skill to kill a male lion. However, this would be a rare occurrence. In the wild, the lioness will attack the male lion as a form of self-defense to protect her cubs or territory, however, it will rarely end in death. 

What bird can kill a lion? 

An ostrich. A scared ostrich can be fatal. At their quickest, they can achieve speeds of up to 45 miles per hour and, like the giraffe, are capable of a powerful kick capable of killing the lion and at their worst, larger predators. Although this is rare. In any case, lions take note – beware of the ostrich! 

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